Original Air Date: July 23, 2017
Event Date: July 23, 2017
aired live on the WWE Network
Panel: Renee Young, Sam Roberts, David Otunga, Jerry Lawler
Social Media Lounge: Kayla Braxton
Commentary: Tom Phillips, JBL, Byron Saxton
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton
Brand: SmackDown Live
Theme Song: “Whatever It Takes” by Imagine Dragons
Renee Young introduces the panel and talks about the Philadelphia crowd. Lawler thinks there might be an “international incident” tonight. Renee also introduces Kayla Braxton in the Social Media Lounge. She’ll have Maria and Mike Kanellis in the Lounge later.
A package video showing how Cena and Rusev came to be in a flag match tonight.
Dasha Fuentes welcomes John Cena and asks him if he’s ready for tonight. Cena says tonight will be unpredictable, but he’s ready. He came back to be the best, and to do that he has to win tonight.
The panel discusses the flag match and says this is a must-win for Cena. Roberts says that the crowd is as much pressure as Cena’s own patriotism and that he has to prove himself every night he competes since he doesn’t compete every night. Lawler and Roberts pick Cena, Otunga picks Rusev (though he wants Cena to win).
Clips showing how the fatal five way women’s number one contender match came together.
Carmella joins the panel, replacing David Otunga. Roberts asks Carmella about James Ellsworth’s involvement in her becoming Ms. Money in the Bank. She avoids the question and just talks about being awesome. Carmella picks Natalya to win tonight but says if she becomes champ she’ll have to watch out. Roberts then asks Carmella about how many people see Charlotte as the best female wrestler in the WWE. Carmella doesn’t care about that. Roberts then picks Charlotte to win tonight. Lawler picks Natalya.
Renee shows a video from earlier today of AJ Styles throwing the first pitch at a Philadelphia Phillies game.
Clips of AJ Styles defeating Kevin Owens for the US Title at a live event at Madison Square Garden.
Dasha Fuentes welcomes AJ Styles and asks him about what Kevin Owens has said he’ll do to Styles. Styles says the US Title represents the workhorse of WWE. Until someone can prove that Styles isn’t that workhorse, he’s going to keep the title.
Tom Phillips starts to ask Kevin Owens a question. Owens says he’s been quiet since losing the title because he doesn’t have to keep telling everyone he’s the best. Everyone already knows that. Tonight He’s taking his title back.
The panel seems to think Owens and Styles are about on the same level right now. Lawler thinks Owens’ confidence gives him an edge while Roberts thinks Styles’ dedication gives him one. Otunga and Lawler think Owens needs a win tonight more than Styles. Roberts picks Styles.
Social Media Lounge
Maria and Mike Kanellis join Kayla Braxton to answer some questions. Maria is asked when she’s going to get back in the ring, but she says she’s already back in the ring. She’s doing everything she can to help her man. Mike talks about his strategy tonight, saying he’s going to punch Sami Zayn in the head as hard as he can. Maria also talks about finding true love, saying that the love she shares with Mike is one of a kind.
The panel is disturbed by Maria and Mike’s public displays of affection. They run down the card one more time before sending it to ringside for the kickoff match.
Aiden English vs Tye Dillinger
(referee: Ryan Tran)
Result: Aiden English wins via pinfall after a full nelson into a reverse STO
Time: 7:48 (1 break)
A surprisingly good match. This could have easily been a simple and uneventful win for Dillinger, but I really liked what English did here. He busted out some nice moves. He and Dillinger worked well together, putting together a few nice chains and putting on a fun warm-up match. I liked the finish and would like to see this turn into an actual feud so we can get a few more matches.
Renee shows a video from Facebook of Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers arriving at the venue. Obaid Kadwani and Shez Sardar ask him some questions. Mahal seems confident.
Clips of how and how the WWE Title will be defended in a Punjabi Prison match tonight.
The panel says we will see history tonight. Otunga is sure that Mahal has something up his sleeve.
This was a fine Kickoff show. I liked the interviews, and the match was a nice surprise.